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How to Save Money on Your Wedding

January 3rd, 2013 Personal Finance

Weddings are an important occasion in many peoples' lives that deserve to be celebrated accordingly. However, many brides and grooms feel like the wedding of their dreams is out of reach because of the costs involved. Luckily, it doesn't have to be expensive and you can still get a ceremony and reception that you'll remember for the rest of your life. Here are a few money saving tips from Real Simple magazine and Bankrate.com.

Make a list of priorities
Before you start the planning process, make a list of the things you definitely want in your wedding. Sit down with your partner and come up with a few areas where you're not really willing to negotiate on price. For example, if you know you want a specific venue for the ceremony, you can splurge on that and cut down on costs elsewhere. Make a list of the things that really matter to you and a list of services or items that you wouldn't mind making a sacrifice or two on, then plan accordingly.

Control the length of your planning stage
Oftentimes, how long you spend planning the wedding will affect your costs. For certain personalities, having less time to plan out the details stops them from getting caught up in all of the different options and helps them simplify what they want. Some people find that giving themselves more time is actually beneficial because they can plan to buy items like decorations during seasonal sales or spend time shopping around for the best bargains. It all depends on your preference.

Scheduling the date
According to Real Simple magazine, you have much more negotiating power when you schedule your wedding to take place on an off-peak date and day. A winter wedding is often less competitive, so you should be able to get a better price. Many couples are also avoiding getting married on Saturdays, which are the most popular days for weddings. Consider a Friday night or Sunday afternoon ceremony instead.

Picking a venue
When you're deciding on a venue, you may want to take into consideration a few low-cost or free locations, like one of the National Parks, a friend or family member's backyard, the beach or even a restaurant. If the space isn't equipped to cater a party, you'll have to consider providing amenities like bathrooms, a kitchen and tables and chairs - but it will likely still be less expensive than a wedding reception hall or country club.

Choosing your attire
When choosing a dress, try planning out when the designer or sample sales are. You can often save up to 70 percent on gowns, headpieces and shoes at these events, according to Real Simple magazine. Look up your favorite designers' websites to see when their sample sales are and consider signing up for newsletters from a few bridal shops. If you choose to shop early, you may be able to snag the best items for less. You can also choose to rent tuxedos and gowns for the event, which could save you money in other areas. Vintage clothing and once-worn outfits are also options.

Saving on cuisine
You may wish to have a daytime reception rather than an evening one. This means you would be able to serve brunch or lunch rather than dinner, which could save you a lot of money. Buffet-style meals are also a lot cheaper than having the chef prepare multiple plates for guests to choose from, and it could also save you the hassle of chasing down guests to find out their preferences. As for drinks, you may want to consider only serving beer and wine to guests or just serving signature cocktails, which use the same liquors and don't require the bartenders to open multiple bottles.